BMW’s new Mega City Vehicle (MCV) will launch in 2013 and spawn a whole family of innovative, high-tech models – possibly including a production version of the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept car, according to the sales boss.
Ian Robertson, board member for sales and marketing at the BMW Group, said the MCV would be the brand’s first full series production electric car at launch in 2013.
‘It will be badged as a BMW sub brand – with a propeller badge and a separate name,’ he said. ‘We are in the final stages of deciding what that name will be and there are some exciting options. It’ll be like our M badge, there will be a proper sub brand on it.’
BMW’s Mega City Vehicle project: the tech bit
BMW has launched a joint venture with a carbonfibre specialist and the MCV will use a composite chassis. It’s a ground-up project, designed as a bespoke electric vehicle, with less of the packaging compromises inherent in a petrol car turned EV.
For instance, the batteries will be stored as thin sandwiches around the chassis rather than stored in the boot (one flipside being, a BMW EV is unlikely to qualify for a fast-drop roadside pitstop battery change).
Carbonfibre? That’ll be expensive!
Exactly. Robertson refused to say how pricey the MCV will be, but admitted it will carry a stiff premium at first. But he claimed the kerbweight will be around 20% lower than a steel bodied equivalent.
‘The MCV will be first in a family of cars,’ added Robertson. ‘We showed an interesting car with our Vision Efficient Dynamics concept car at Frankfurt last year, didn’t we? It’s not been approved by the board yet, but it is possible.
‘Our new technical systems are capable of being scaled from a four-seater MCV designed for an urban environment to a sports car too. This technology can be applied across the group: BMW, Rolls or Mini.’
Composites for all
Robertson also predicted that in the medium term mainstream BMWs will adopt carbonfibre extensively. It sounds far fetched but he’s adamant the benefits in cutting CO2 – and the virtuous circle of light weight meaning lighter ancillaries – will be worth the expense.
The MCV project is targeting the world’s growing number of huge urban sprawls: Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and 10 other Chinese cities, Mexico City and Los Angeles. London is a bit on the small side, Robertson reckons.